I’m a retired faculty member with a continuing research interest in Perceptual Control Theory (PCT) as a lens for understanding sociology. PCT provides an alternative view of human psychology that takes into account the feedback effects of our own actions on our perceptions of the world around us. Behavior, from this perspective, can be defined as the control of perception, and my recent scholarly work has focused on how social and cultural structures and processes have emerged from the collective control of perception.
faculty info column 1
Education / Degrees:
Ph.D., Sociology, Harvard University, 1976
A.B., Sociology, Oberlin College, 1968
"Social Structure and Control: Perceptual Control Theory and the Science of Sociology.” Forthcoming in Living Control Systems IV, edited by Warren Mansell. Bloomfield, NJ: Benchmark Publications.
“Cycles of Conflict: A Computational Modeling Alternative to Collins’s Theory of Conflict Escalation.” Sociological Theory 32 (2014) pp. 100-127. DOI: 10.1177/0735275114536387
Purpose, Meaning, and Action: Control Systems Theories in Sociology, edited by Kent A. McClelland and Thomas J. Fararo. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. 2006.
“Collective Control of Perception: Constructing Order from Conflict.” International Journal of Human-Computer Studies 60 (2004) pp. 65-99.
“Perceptual Control and Social Power.” Sociological Perspectives 37 (1994) pp. 461-496.
Primary Academic Interest:
Conflict and Conflict Resolution
Social Inequality: Race Class and Gender
Social Welfare Systems